Chele Rutherford of Edgewater is on a tear. Bowling tenpins for most of her life, Rutherford has put together a career year.
This year she averaged 211 in two leagues -- the Tuesday 770 Mixed and the Sunday Mixed at Bel Air Bowl, an improvement of five pins over her 206 average of last year.
On March 6-7, in the Baltimore Women's Bowling Association tournament, she threw 700 series in the team, doubles and singles events.
In the team event she fired games of 280, 257 and 225 for a personal career-high series of 762. Continuing her assault on the record book, she pounded out games of 206, 278 and 228 in the doubles event for a 712 series.
In the singles event she posted scores of 279, 227 and 256 for another 762 series.
Those scores captured both the scratch and handicap All-Events titles and broke the WBA records.
Rutherford's scratch 2,236 All-Events figure is the highest ever posted in Women's International Bowling Congress history for a non-professional.
The left-hander wasn't finished for the season. In April, at Bel Air Bowl, she rolled another 700 series. This time she used a 296 game as the centerpiece.
"Every other time I had 10 strikes in a row, I pulled the 11th ball," she said. "This time the 11th ball was OK, but on the 12th ball I took a little off just to make sure that I wouldn't cross the headpin and the ball came up short."
What has been the reason for a good bowler to suddenly become a devastating bowler?
"A lot of the credit has to go my husband, Kevin," Rutherford said. "He knows my game and he sees a lot of little things that I do wrong.
"Another reason may be that I'm a little slower on the approach now. I've always had a tendency to rush the line but knee 'D surgery slowed me down and then after having Andrew [he's a almost a year old], a nerve in my leg was giving me trouble and that slowed me down."
Free clinic at Bel Air
Kevin Rutherford will conduct a free clinic at Bel Air Bowl on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Rutherford started bowling when he was 13. Until last year he carried a PBA card for four years.
"I couldn't stay on the tour," he said. "Family and career just didn't leave enough time to bowl professionally."
Rutherford bowls in two leagues -- the Monday First Nighters and the Sunday Mixed at Bel Air Bowl -- and finds time to coach the Saturday YABA.
"The clinic is open to everyone," he said. "Basically it's a learn-to-bowl-better clinic for bowlers trying to improve their game but it would probably benefit a beginning bowler, too."
Rutherford carries a 206 average, has a 300 game and a 817 series for career highlights and, "I've had the frustration of throwing 298 and 299 games."
What does he try to teach?
"Consistency. Consistency is the key to good bowling. And that consistency comes from a good arm swing, basically straight up and straight down," he said.
The clinic starts with a video, progresses to on-the-lane instructions and to bowling games.
Youths place high
Elk Lanes in Elkton was the host center for the 1993 NJBC State Finals. Here's how the youngsters from Harford County finished:
* Grades 2-and-under, girls -- Kimmy Ziegler, Forest Hill Lanes, threw a handicapped 585 set for fourth place.
* Grades 3-5, boys -- Stephen Pannone, Forest Hill Lanes, finished seventh with a 593 series.
* Grades 3-5, girls -- Theresa Strickland, Forest Hill Lanes, was sixth with a 609 set.
* Grades 9-and-up, girls handicap -- Laura Raab, Forest Hill Lanes, finished third in the stepladder finals.
* Grades 9-and-up, boys scratch -- Todd Duley, Forest Hill Lanes, placed third in the stepladder finals.
* Grades 9-and-up, girls scratch -- Yvonne Burdette took third in the stepladder finals.
The Harford County Women's Bowling Association and the Cecil-Harford Counties Men's Bowling Association will conduct their first Mixed Championship Tournament at Harford Lanes Saturday and Sunday, June 19 and 20.
Entries for the tournament, which is ABC- and WIBC-sanctioned, close at midnight, June 14.